Dear Santa Clara University Students,
We write today with urgent concern about a significant uptick in positive COVID-19 test results among our off-campus students. We know that many of you are doing all you can to stay safe, and we truly appreciate all of your efforts. Earlier this week we received weekly test results for 658 students, faculty, and staff, and so far there have been 69 positives—almost all students. We are aware that several of the cases occurred among students living in the same household.
These clusters indicate how important it is to follow the University and county safety protocols. If one member of a household gets infected, all the members of the household are at risk. COVID-19 remains widespread in Santa Clara County, with only 6% of ICU beds available, and no decline in the number of cases. With so many positive cases in the region, if you engage in social activity outside your household, there is a high chance of encountering someone who is positive and does not know it.
As we head into a three-day weekend for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, it is more critical than ever that we do all we can to reduce transmission. If this trend continues, it may threaten our ability to safely reopen campus as we have been planning.
Helpful COVID-19 Safety Guidelines:
- Socialize only with members of your own household: If you are going to see people outside of your household, make sure to do it outside, masked, and socially distant (e.g. hikes are better than dinner parties);
- Avoid multi-household parties or large gatherings;
- Wear face coverings, wash hands frequently, stay 6 feet apart (masked) from others outside your home at all times;
- Take advantage of the free, on-campus weekly testing. Testing is a key piece of our response to the pandemic. No one will get in trouble for testing positive, and the more we can normalize the practice of testing, the better.
- Cooperate with contact tracers if they call you with a positive result or alert you that you’ve been in close contact with a positive person. Contact tracing is intended to be supportive, not punitive. These calls help keep our community safe.
- Quarantine if you’ve had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Isolate if you are positive and review critical health and safety information for students.
Important: Talk to your friends now about staying safe. Agree on clear guidelines with your roommates and housemates, including having a plan for isolation and quarantine. We know this can be awkward and uncomfortable, but this is not just about students. The virus does not care about our SCU bubble, so transmission among students will affect neighbors, community members, and people who can't work from home.
If you test positive, please review the critical health and safety information for resources, including tips for isolation and quarantine, suggestions for contactless delivery of food and medicine, and resources for academic support. Those with positive results and/or COVID-19 symptoms can also seek advice from your primary care physician or Cowell Center. To seek medical advice from a provider within the Cowell Center, you must first call 408-554-4501 or go to the Cowell Center My Student Health Portal to make a telemedicine appointment. Please do not go to the Center before speaking with a provider.
The Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and closed on weekends. The Center will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. If you are sick or in need of medical attention, please contact your primary care physician or visit the nearest Urgent Care Center. The Cowell Center will resume its normal hours of operation on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
Santa Clara University’s contact-tracing team will contact every single person who tests positive through our on-campus testing. The team will make sure students have the resources they need and can isolate, and give them a chance to ask questions about their diagnosis. The team will also send each person an email with isolation and quarantine guidance.
Each one of us plays a critical role in helping keep our community safe and not further delay the safe re-opening of campus. The University expects students to comply with any health order that pertains to the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. This includes compliance with all local, county, state, and federal health orders on and off campus. For the safety of all students, and to underscore our expectations, the Student Conduct Code has been temporarily expanded to explicitly address student behavior during the pandemic.
We know how challenging these many months have been. As Broncos, we can all support each other in this critically important phase of the pandemic.
As always, stay informed by checking our Prepared SCU website, follow the Ask Professor Kat Saxton stories series about COVID-19 prevention on SCU’s Instagram, or email us at email@example.com.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our Bronco family safe and well.
Vice Provost for Student Life
President, Associated Student Government